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Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) announced that it has selected a location in the USA for a world-scale polymerisation plant for its Expancel expandable microspheres. Advanced engineering is under way and long delivery item procurement has started. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020, subject to final board approval, said Nouryon.

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According to the market study “Global Tires” from the Freedonia Group, world demand for tyres is forecast to reach 3.2 billion units in 2022. In value terms, sales of tyres are projected to advance 4.9 % per year, boosted by expected increases in raw material prices and the continued development of higher quality tyres.

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FRX Polymers Inc., a supplier of polymeric halogen-free flame retardant solutions, has been named to the “2019 Global Cleantech 100 List”, which recognizes the world’s leaders in sustainable innovation. The company, which earned the distinction for the sixth time in the last ten years, was recognized for its successful commercial work for its Nofia flame retardant products. Cleantech Group released the tenth Global Cleantech 100 report on 28 January 2019 at its annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, CA, USA.

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On 5 March 2019, FXI and Innocor, two leading producers of polyurethane foam products, announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement. According to the two partners, the combined company will offer a complete array of solutions and serve customers across a broad range of end markets, including bedding, furniture, transportation, medical, filtration, acoustics, and industrial. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close during H2 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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Trinseo has increased prices for all ABS and SAN grades in Europe.

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Lubrizol announced that its LifeSciences business has expanded its global development and manufacturing facilities, and the latest investment is a new medical device applications lab in Brecksville, OH, USA. This lab features applications testing, small-scale compounding as well as injection moulding for long-term implantables. The 1,800-square foot facility will also focus on accelerated R&D, from polymers to device scale up and testing in a short period of time, said the company.

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The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) has released the Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics, December 2018. In 2018, world production of natural rubber (NR) accounted 13.960 million tons, an increase of 4.6 % from 13.350 million tons on a year-to-year basis, said ANRPC Secretary General Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Bich.

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Saudi Aramco on 22 February 2019 signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) aimed at expanding its downstream presence in the Zhejiang province, one of the most developed regions in China. The company aims to acquire a 9 % stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical’s 800,000 barrels per day integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, located in the city of Zhoushan.

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The Indonesian government has announced three new policies that aim to jack up the price of natural rubber, which has hit a record low since 2018. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said the new policies would restrict natural rubber exports, expand the domestic use of rubber in construction, and replant rubber plantations.

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Duna-USA has completed a multi-million USD expansion of its Baytown, TX, USA, headquarters and manufacturing facility. The expansion, which began in fall 2016, included the addition of a new manufacturing building, new office building, automated fabrication department with five-axis CNC machinery and robotic warehouse, and an additional “continuous” low-density Corafoam production line.

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